Tag Archive | "billy bajema"

Ravens activate LB McClain, cut TE Bajema

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Ravens activate LB McClain, cut TE Bajema

Posted on 19 October 2013 by Luke Jones

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After a 10-month absence that included plenty of outside doubt over whether he’d play football again, Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain has been activated from the physically unable to perform list and will make his return against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

To make room for McClain on the 53-man roster, the Ravens have once again released veteran tight end Billy Bajema. Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about the linebacker’s status for Sunday’s game, but McClain needed to be activated by 4 p.m. on Saturday to make him eligible to play against Pittsburgh.

McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion on Dec. 9, 2012 against the Washington Redskins, an injury that ended his season and put his career in jeopardy as he waited for his spinal cord to heal. However, McClain continued to work out and attend team meetings as the Ravens remained positive publicly that he would eventually be cleared.

“They tried to kill me, I’m not dead,” McClain said prior to his long-awaited return to the practice field on Wednesday. “I’m still here, still doing what I love and fighting for this team. There was so much negativity that I couldn’t afford to think negative. All I could do was believe in myself and what I was capable of doing.”

With starting inside linebacker Josh Bynes out for Sunday’s game after undergoing surgery on an infected finger, the need for McClain’s return became even greater after he had a positive week of practice without any setbacks. The sixth-year linebacker was listed as probable on the final injury report of the week despite the Ravens not needing to even include him since he wasn’t on the 53-man roster.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees was matter-of-fact earlier in the week when asked what job McClain will fill upon being activated, which means he will likely start next to inside linebacker Daryl Smith in the base defense with rookie Arthur Brown more involved in the nickel to utilize his athleticism in pass coverage.

“‘Will’ linebacker,” said Pees about McClain’s anticipated role. “If he’s able to go, that will be John’s decision and the trainer’s and everybody else’s decision. It won’t be ours. But if he’s ready to go, we’ll be ready for him to go.”

McClain has started 45 games in his career with the Ravens after joining the organization as an undrafted rookie from Syracuse in 2008.

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Ravens re-sign TE Bajema (again), part ways with RB Draughn

Posted on 10 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

In what’s almost become an amusing game for the Ravens’ 53-man roster, veteran tight end Billy Bajema has been re-signed for the third time this season.

Third-string running back and kick returner Shaun Draughn was waived to make room for Bajema, who was re-signed shortly before the season after being released at the end of the summer and played in the Ravens’ first four games. He was released for a second time when the Ravens completed the trade for new left tackle Eugene Monroe last week but was then re-signed over the weekend when wide receiver Brandon Stokley hadn’t recovered from a groin injury.

Bajema was released for a third time this year on Tuesday when Stokley was invited back to the roster. The 30-year-old tight end has one catch for 18 yards this season and has primarily served as an extra blocker in the running game.

Draughn saw action at running back when starter Ray Rice was sidelined in Week 3 and carried the ball four times for two yards against the Houston Texans. The former Kansas City Chief also had two kick returns for 53 yards on the season as he was originally signed to provide depth at running back as well as the return game.

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Ravens re-sign WR Stokley, release TE Bajema

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Ravens re-sign WR Stokley, release TE Bajema

Posted on 08 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

As expected after releasing him on the eve of their Week 5 win over the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens re-signed veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley to their 53-man roster on Tuesday.

Cut to make room for blocking tight end Billy Bajema on Saturday, it had been reported over the weekend that the Ravens planned to retain Stokley’s services after their meeting with the Miami Dolphins. Baltimore ultimately ran 40 times for 133 yards on Sunday and used Bajema for 13 offensive snaps in the 26-23 win.

The Ravens cut Bajema again to make room for Stokley.

Stokley has been dealing with a groin injury that sidelined him for the Ravens’ Week 4 loss in Buffalo and did not practice on Friday of last week before the Ravens made the roster move to re-sign Bajema. Stokley’s exit coupled with injuries to Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown left the Ravens with just three active wide receivers for Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium.

“Brandon has a groin-hip flexor issue where he wasn’t ready to play,” Harbaugh said after Sunday’s win in Miami. “We had to find a way to get Billy back up so we could play Billy, and it was a numbers issue. It was all health related.”

Harbaugh was noncommittal on Stokley’s status when asked about the veteran during his Monday press conference, but several reports over the last few days said the Ravens would bring Stokley back at some point this week.

In three games this season, Stokley has nine receptions for 79 yards.

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Ravens cut Stokley, re-sign Bajema on eve of Dolphins game

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Ravens cut Stokley, re-sign Bajema on eve of Dolphins game

Posted on 05 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens have parted ways with veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley and re-signed tight end Billy Bajema on the eve of their Week 5 meeting with the Miami Dolphins.

With fellow wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Deonte Thompson healthier and rookie Marlon Brown emerging as a legitimate contributor, the need for the 37-year-old Stokley was decreasing as it was apparent he was having difficulty gaining separation from opposing defensive backs. Before being sidelined with a groin injury in Week 4, Strokley made nine catches for 79 yards this season as he primarily worked out of the slot receiver spot.

Considering it’s unlikely that there would be much demand for Stokley on the open market, the possibility exists of the Ravens bringing back the veteran at some point. According to The Sun, that’s exactly what the Ravens plan to do as they’re expected to re-sign Stokley as early as Monday.

Bajema was released earlier in the week to make room on the 53-man roster for newly-acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe, but the Ravens have struggled mightily at the tight end position this season with Ed Dickson dropping too many passes and 34-year-old Dallas Clark often unable to get open against defenders. Though he has only one catch for 18 yards, Bajema is a strong blocker used in some two-tight end sets.

Stokley was listed as questionable on the injury report this week after missing Friday’s practice and will likely be replaced by some combination of Brown, Thompson, and Marlon Brown in the slot.

His return to the Ravens after he spent his first four NFL seasons in Baltimore was a feel-good story, but Stokley acknowledged a hesitancy in determining whether he wanted to play this season with his skills declining toward the end of his career. A fourth-round pick in the 1999 draft, Stokley will always be remembered as the first Raven to score a touchdown in Super Bowl history when he hauled in a 38-yard score from quarterback Trent Dilfer in Super Bowl XXXV.

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Ravens place Pitta on IR-designated to return, re-sign Bajema

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Ravens place Pitta on IR-designated to return, re-sign Bajema

Posted on 04 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

More than a month after tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a devastating hip injury in the first week of training camp, the Ravens are officially leaving the door open for his return in 2013.

As expected, the team announced Wednesday morning that Pitta was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return after it was initially feared that he would be lost for the entire season. Baltimore re-signed veteran tight end Billy Bajema to take Pitta’s place on the 53-man roster a day before the Ravens’ season-opening game in Denver.

Pitta suffered a fractured and dislocated hip on July 27 and underwent surgery immediately. An MRI later revealed the fourth-year tight end hadn’t suffered any ligament or cartilage damage to the hip area, leaving open some chance of him returning later this season.

“I would love to play this season,” Pitta told the team’s official website last week. “I think there’s a possibility of me coming back. There’s also the possibility that I won’t be back until next season. I’m prepared for both decisions. Right now, I’m taking it day-to-day and doing everything they allow me to do. I’m getting stronger every day.”

The designation would allow Pitta to return to practice after the first six weeks of the regular season and to game action after the first eight weeks, but he is not expected to be ready that soon as many medical experts have described his type of injury as needing a minimum of three to four months of recovery time in the most optimistic cases.

Teams were not allowed to use the return designation until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, meaning the Ravens were required to carry Pitta on their 53-man roster through final cuts on Aug. 31. Each team is allowed to use the IR exemption once and cannot recover the privilege to use it on anyone else should the injured player be unable to make it back to the field.

“You’ve got to weigh that, but you can’t predict and deal in hypotheticals,” said Harbaugh last week. “Dennis is a great player in our opinion, and this is an opportunity that seems like it might make sense for him.”

Bajema served as the No. 3 tight end behind Pitta and Ed Dickson last year and is regarded as a strong blocker and special-teams contributor who will back up Dickson and veteran newcomer Dallas Clark in 2013.

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five players to watch

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 28 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens have reached the light at the end of the preseason tunnel as they’ll conclude the summer against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

From an entertainment standpoint, the preseason finale has rarely been one in which you can cut the electricity with a knife as Joe Flacco has already been confirmed by head coach John Harbaugh to be a spectator on Thursday. The starting quarterback won’t be alone as many starters will not take the field at all at the Edward Jones Dome in a game that means nothing for players who have already sewn up spots on the 53-man roster.

Of course, Harbaugh and the coaching staff will be expecting a strong performance from the players who will see action, many of whom are fighting for no more than a few jobs.

“We’re getting ready to go play St. Louis,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to do our best to go out there and try to win that game within the parameters of what helps our football team going forward into the regular season.”

In all reality, most roster decisions have already been made with the preseason finale not doing much to change the dynamics of the 53-man squad that must be finalized by Saturday at 6 p.m. Players with no realistic shot of making the team are hoping to put forth a good performance that might garner attention from other teams looking to fill out their rosters and practice squads in the coming days.

Potential competitions remain for the third running job, the No. 3 tight end, and the fourth safety job if the Ravens elect to keep each of those positions. And, of course, much attention will be paid to the wide receivers currently on the bubble, but you have to wonder how many conclusions the coaching staff can draw from the wideouts playing with reserve quarterback Caleb Hanie and potentially the newly-signed Dayne Crist.

Harbaugh was asked Tuesday how many times he could recall roster spots being decided by just a play or two made in the preseason finale.

“Probably not often, in all reality,” Harbaugh said. “But I would say in this game, there are a couple of those. There are a couple guys that, perhaps if they really, really play well, they could really play themselves on [to the 53-man roster]. Or, guys could play themselves off. It’s possible.”

The Ravens will be meeting the Rams for the fourth time ever in the preseason as St. Louis enters the game with a 3-0 all-time mark in the exhibition contests. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series by a 3-2 margin and won a 37-7 blowout in St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting in 2011.

Harbaugh is now 15-8 in preseason games with the Ravens holding a 42-28 overall mark in the preseason. Baltimore has won 14 of its last 19 preseason games.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to produce an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released.

Of course, the final preseason game will include many players sitting out due to Harbaugh’s preference with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos just a week from Thursday night. This estimated report does not reflect any of the veterans who will watch from the sidelines and is only an indication of the team’s current health.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton (wrist) are no longer on the active roster and are no longer included in the injury report.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: WR Deonte Thompson (foot), LB Pernell McPhee (knee), OL Ryan Jensen (foot), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DOUBTFUL: TE Ed Dickson (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Arthur Jones (personal health issue), QB Tyrod Taylor (head)
PROBABLE: G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), CB Lardarius Webb (knee)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. RB Delone Carter

While few fans are enthused to watch the fourth and final preseason game consisting of few starters, the contest will offer the first glance of Carter, who was acquired from Indianapolis in the David Reed trade. At 5-foot-9 and 232 pounds, Carter is a low-to-the-ground power runner with the reputation of being effective at the goal line and in short-yardage situations, two areas in which the Ravens struggled at times last season.

The real question may be how much of an impact Carter can bring to special teams as the potential No. 3 running back with third-year veteran Anthony Allen strong in that regard and Bobby Rainey having intriguing potential as a backup return specialist. Much discussion of last impressions being made in the preseason finale is overblown, but Carter has only had a couple practices to show off his ability, meaning Thursday will be critical for his potential future in Baltimore.

2. WR LaQuan Williams

It’s difficult to predict whether the performance of any of the bubble receivers on Thursday night will carry much stock in final roster decisions if the likes of Hanie and Crist are under center, but Williams hasn’t followed up his strong performance in the preseason opener in the way he would have liked. Always a good special-teams player, Williams has lacked consistency as a wideout this summer and saw rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette receive opportunities with the first-team offense in recent weeks while he only received a few token reps here and there.

A standout play or two on special teams would likely put an exclamation point on his case for a spot on the 53-man roster for the third straight season, but Williams would like to leave a lasting impression as a wide receiver as well. The coaching staff has always been complimentary of his work ethic, but Williams doesn’t have the impressive height or blazing speed of other receivers with which he’s competing and his value on special teams can only go so far with so much uncertainty at the wide receiver position as a whole.

3. DE DeAngelo Tyson

It’s remarkable to think how far the defensive line has come since last season when Tyson was seeing critical snaps in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII after Haloti Ngata went down with a knee injury. The 2012 seventh-round pick hasn’t necessarily had a poor summer, but he is clearly seventh in the pecking order of a deep group of options with various skills against the run and pass.

Tyson’s fate will come down to the simple numbers as the coaching staff decides whether players at other positions would be better fits for roster spots than keeping Tyson as a seventh defensive lineman. Statistics usually aren’t a great indication of how well a defensive lineman has fared, but Tyson’s two tackles reflect the quiet preseason we’ve observed from the Georgia product.

4. TE Billy Bajema

Following the Ravens’ decision to terminate the contract of veteran Visanthe Shiancoe last weekend, many assumed this opened the door for rookie Matt Furstenburg to be the No. 3 tight end, but veteran Billy Bajema is a reliable blocking tight end with some ability as a pass catcher when given opportunities. He saw a great deal of action late last season when Ed Dickson was sidelined with a knee injury and held up well as the blocking tight end behind Dennis Pitta.

In most cases, teams will go with the younger, cheaper option when rookies and veterans are evenly matched in a competition for a roster spot, but the Ravens were using Bajema over Furstenburg with the starting offense prior to the free-agent signing of Dallas Clark a couple weeks ago. Bajema is also a positive special-teams contributor, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when the Ravens make their final decision on a potential third tight end.

5. S Anthony Levine

Fellow safety Omar Brown might be more of a household name after a strong 2012 preseason, but Levine has appeared to receive more opportunities with the starting special-teams units during the preseason, which could be an indication of which way the Ravens are leaning for the fourth safety spot — if they decide to keep one. Levine is bigger than Brown and was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad last November before eventually going on injured reserve, which paved the way for Brown to be promoted in December.

This might be a rare roster battle that comes down to a matter of who can make a play or two in the preseason finale to sell the coaches on a potential decision. Levine has eight tackles this summer while Brown has five; however, Levine has made one special-teams tackle but appeared to be one of the guilty parties to misplay his lane assignment in the Ted Ginn Jr. 74-yard punt return for a touchdown last week in Baltimore.

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Veteran tight end Bajema re-signs with Ravens

Posted on 11 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

On the same day they released a member of their Super Bowl XLVII team, the Ravens announced the return of another as veteran tight end Billy Bajema has re-signed with Baltimore.

Taking the open roster spot created by the release of Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, Bajema figures to once again compete for the third tight end spot behind Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. The 30-year-old appeared in eight games and made one start in 2012, serving in a larger role while Dickson was sidelined three games with a knee injury in December.

Serving almost exclusively in a blocking capacity, Bajema did not record a reception for the Ravens last season. In eight professional seasons with Baltimore, St. Louis, and San Francisco, he has made a total of 38 catches for 398 yards and two touchdowns.

Bajema’s primary competition for the third tight end job is 2012 practice squad member Alex Silvestro and rookie free agent Matt Furstenburg of Maryland.

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Our Ravens-Lions “Slaps to the Head”

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Our Ravens-Lions “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 18 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Lions 27-12 in their second preseason game Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I again offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Tyrod Taylor

4. Billy Bajema

3. Jacoby Jones

2. Jimmy Smith

1. Nigel Carr (Two slaps)

(Ryan’s slaps on Page 2…) 

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Ravens-Lions preseason primer: Five players to watch

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Ravens-Lions preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Poised for a better showing after a poor first half in their 31-17 win in the preseason opener, the Ravens welcome the Detroit Lions to M&T Bank Stadium on Friday night.

Welcoming Detroit head coach and Mount St. Joseph graduate Jim Schwartz to town and taking on the Lions for the third time ever in the preseason — Baltimore holds a 2-0 mark — the Ravens hope to begin with a better tempo than they did in Atlanta last week when they were outgained 191-9 in total yards through the first 15 minutes of play. After struggling in all three phases of the game last week, the Ravens will encounter an explosive passing offense that includes quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson as well as an intimidating defensive line led by Ndamukong Suh.

“We always want to come out and get a fast start, but there’s nothing better than a great finish,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “If you have to choose, you are going to want to finish well. I thought our guys finished well. I thought the first group finished well on their last opportunity, and that’s a big thought for us, finishing everything we are doing.”

The Ravens have won 11 of their last 13 preseason games as coach John Harbaugh said we can expect to see starters for most of the first half. As was the case last week, some starters will see more extensive action than others and it will all depend on the flow of the game.

Many will continue to monitor the performance of replacement officials as the NFL continues to impose a lockout of its regular officials. While the most notable problem from the Ravens’ preseason opener was referee Craig Ochoa referring to the Falcons as “Arizona” on a few occasions, there were other problems throughout the league ranging from spotting the ball incorrectly to mismanaging the opening coin toss.

Baltimore is trying to take the high road when it comes to any potential critiques of replacement officials.

“Basically we said, ‘You respect them.’” Harbaugh said. “They are the officials, and these guys are guys that have been doing it for quite a while, and they know what they are doing. I thought our last game they did pretty well for the first time out there. There are always some miscues. We had plenty of miscues ourselves.”

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess at what the injury report would look like if there were one.

Harbaugh would not offer much Tuesday about the status of any player dealing with an injury, leaving us to wonder whether the likes of wide receiver Torrey Smith and cornerback Jimmy Smith will suit up and play against the Lions. It will also be interesting to see if the Ravens clear rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw for his first preseason action. His level of participation in practices increased this week as he continues to recover from a sprained shoulder.

Again, this is not meant to be an official injury report:

OUT: LB Josh Bynes (back), LB Darryl Blackstock (groin), TE Dennis Pitta (hand), TE Ed Dickson (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon), WR David Reed (knee), DL Ryan McBean (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: WR Tandon Doss (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Torrey Smith (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (back), LB Courtney Upshaw (shoulder), G Bobbie Williams (ankle), OT Jah Reid (calf), WR Devin Goda (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: RB Bernard Pierce (hamstring), WR Jacoby Jones (leg), DE Pernell McPhee (knee), C Matt Birk (back), S Ed Reed (knee)

Five players to watch Friday night

1. OL Kelechi Osemele

Most of us have assumed that Bryant McKinnie would eventually man the left tackle spot and Michael Oher would play on the right side after the former reported late to training camp as he said he was dealing with a back injury, but the Ravens still don’t appear to have decided on what they want to do at those positions. The rookie Osemele has complicated the situation further by playing at an impressive level during training camp as the Ravens feel they got an absolute steal with the 60th overall pick in April.

Osemele’s great athleticism and maturity beyond his years have contributed to the coaching staff giving him extensive consideration at right tackle even though the safe play would be to revert back to last year’s tackle combination of McKinnie and Oher. The Iowa State rookie still needs to become a more consistent pass blocker, but he appears to be a far more serious candidate to start than anyone would have realistically expected at the start of camp. His ability to move inside is also a nice insurance policy to have with left guard Bobbie Williams coming off major ankle surgery in the offseason.

2. K Billy Cundiff

I stated at the start of training camp that rookie Justin Tucker would only be able to win the kicking job if he performed at an extremely high level while the veteran Cundiff stubbed his toe along the way. Tucker has been outstanding throughout training camp even though Cundiff had also been very good until this week.

On Monday, Cundiff missed short field goals from 24 and 34 yards and couldn’t convert a pair beyond 50 yards on Wednesday while Tucker continued to kick with ice water in his veins, only missing a 52-yard field goal this week while making all other tries. The veteran will really be feeling the pressure if he doesn’t have a good night in front of a home crowd that hasn’t exactly been forgiving in the realm of social media whenever his kicking miscues have been reported this summer.

Regardless of how Cundiff performs, the crowd response alone will be interesting to watch.

3. TE Billy Bajema

CONTINUE >>>

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Ravens add veteran TE Bajema

Posted on 01 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Needing to add depth after the loss of Dennis Pitta for the remainder of the preseason with a broken hand, the Ravens announced the signing of veteran tight end Billy Bajema to the 90-man preseason roster.

Entering his eighth season, the 29-year-old made 12 starts and played in all 16 games for the St. Louis Rams last season. He caught nine passes for 71 yards and is regarded as a blocking tight end.

With 2009 fifth-round pick Davon Drew and rookies Bruce Figgins and Matt Balasavage the only healthy tight ends on the roster behind starter Ed Dickson, Bajema brings a veteran presence and could potentially compete with Drew for the No. 3 tight end job. Of course, that’s assuming the Ravens elect to keep three tight ends when they trim the roster down to 53 at the beginning of September.

Bajema’s best season came in 2010 when he made 14 receptions for 145 yards and caught two touchdowns. He spent four seasons in San Francisco before playing the last three with the Rams, accumulating 38 catches for 398 yards and two receiving touchdowns.

He was a seventh-round pick from Oklahoma State in the 2005 draft.

In a corresponding move, rookie quarterback John Brantley was released.

 

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